San Diego Tourist Guide

San Diego Embarcadero Public Tree Art

Picture of Urban Tree Public Art at Embarcadero
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They aren't really trees. They are called trees since each piece of sculpted art is "rooted" in large planter boxes with every abstract figure is balanced in a "tree-like" pose. Over the past seven years, Urban Trees has become a very popular destination within a destination. An engaging, changing and enjoyable public art experience for the thousands of visitors drawn to this picturesque San Diego Bay boardwalk at Embarcadero North. The artists responded to a national call and were invited to apply their creative energies to the design of artistic "trees" (sculptural artworks) that would add interest, form, color and fun to the harbor waterfront. From 82 entries, 30 artworks were commissioned for the Urban Trees 7 exhibit, which extends for a half- mile along Harbor Drive, from the Cruise Ship Terminal to Hawthorn Street.

Sponsored by the San Diego Port's Public Art Department, the Urban Tree exhibitions were conceived as a means to activate the North Embarcadero pedestrian promenade and enhance the visual aesthetic enjoyment along the waterfront with a variety of unique and original artworks. Now in its seventh year, Urban Trees has become wildly popular among visitors to San Diego Bay's North Embarcadero. Cruise ship passengers enjoy looking at them as they wait to board their vessels, patrons from nearby restaurants study them as they wait for their reservations and many who walk by can be seen turning their heads to gaze at the sculptures.

A man balancing on one arm, a dancing figure balancing on one leg, a dolphin balancing a ball on its nose and an abstract figure balancing in a tree-like pose. These characters aren't part of a surreal circus. They are a few of the 30 new artworks in the Port of San Diego's continuing public art exhibit, Urban Trees 7, which is on display along San Diego's North Embarcadero. Some of the art sculptures celebrate an arboreal theme. These include "Liberation," by artist Brandon Roth. His creation includes a tree with aluminum leaves encircled by an empty bird cage. Another tree-like sculpture, "The Spectrum of Time," by artist Garrett Goodwin, uses recycled tree trunks with colorful pieces of glass embedded in them.

This year's exhibit has a little bit of Hollywood in it. The Urban Tree sculpture titled "Handstand" is by artist and actor Daniel Stern. His bronze sculpture depicts an eight-foot-tall man balancing on one hand. Stern, who has been acting since 1979, has been in more than 40 movies. He had key comedic roles in "City Slickers", "City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold", "Home Alone" and "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York". His many television roles included playing Fred Savage's father in the television series, "The Wonder Years".

From a distance, artist Jeff Zischke's Urban Tree titled, "Red Palm," looks exactly like a red palm tree. It's not until you get closer that you realize the palm's fronds are made up of 22 red rakes. Artist Glenn Vogel created a different take on the palm tree. His artwork, "23rd Century Palm," is a sleek, polished aluminum palm tree that moves with the bay breezes.

Urban Trees Years 1, 2, 3, and 4 San Diego Embarcadero

Urban Trees 5, 6, 7 San Diego Embarcadero

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San Diego, California